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Winston County awarded grant to repair tornado-damaged communications system



It's been more than a year since a tornado struck Winston County, damaging homes and businesses.

A communications tower for the county's emergency communications system was also damaged. But now, thanks to a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, first responders can respond to life-saving calls.

An $82,500 grant announced by Gov. Kay Ivey will help the county rebuild a tower in West Winston County. This building was damaged in a storm in January 2023. Emergency communications equipment on the east side of the county will also be upgraded.

“Reliable emergency communications systems are essential for law enforcement and other first responders to coordinate timely life-saving efforts,” Ivey said. “These critical funds will help rebuild and expand coverage of Winston County’s emergency communications system, which was damaged by tornadoes last year.”

Proposed improvements include construction of a 920-foot-tall communications tower, 20 feet taller than its predecessor and designed to withstand winds of up to 110 miles per hour. Base stations will be built on the west and east sides of the county.

County leaders say the improvements will strengthen communications infrastructure and improve 911 emergency calls.

The Alabama Department of Economic Community administers Alabama's ARC program.

“These improvements are essential to the safety and well-being of Winston County residents,” said ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell. “ADECA is pleased to join Governor Ivey, ARC, and the Winston County Commission in supporting this project.”

Mr. Ivey informed Commissioner Roger Hayes that a county grant was approved that promised $82,500 in matching funds for improvements.

ARC is the economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments. The agency's mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build Appalachian community capacity and enhance economic growth so that Appalachia can achieve socio-economic parity with the nation. Thirty-seven Alabama counties, including Winston County, are part of the ARC region and are eligible for funding.

ADECA manages a variety of programs that support law enforcement, economic development, recreation, energy conservation, and water resource management.

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